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To explain this package amulet, i need to tell you what little i know about Nino Fidencio. He is what is called a "local saint," -- that is someone considered to be holy by the local populace but never beatified by the Vatican. Nino Fidencio was a "holy child" who performed miracles in Mexico around the beginning of the 20th century.

In one photo i have seen of him, he wears a black suit and is a gaunt, awkward-looking young man, with a narrow "Spanish" face and slicked back black hair. In another, he wears riding jodphurs and is accompanied by his pet leopard. Nino Fidencio's popularity continues to this day; you can buy glass-encased candles with his image silk-screened on them in California, Texas, and elsewhere that Mexicans live, i am sure. A woman from Dallas, Texas, born in Puerto Rico, told me this about Nino Fidenceio: He performed miracle cures both medically and in terms of court cases, "like Saint Jude, when hope is lost." He is revered in Mexico, but also in Puerto Rico and Colombia, where he is the saint most often appealed to by coffee workers (she did not know why, but was sure of this information, first hand). He is said to help "illegals" in matters of the law -- to avoid capture and to avoid deportation. "If you see a picture of Nino Fidencio in a house, either someone is very sick or someone has no papers."

So what we have here is a crudely made holy card of Nino Fidencio, printed in black and white, with a stamped floral border in brown ink, to which has been stapled a typical modern Mexican package amulet wrapped in a piece of disintegrating plastic. The contents of the package amulet are described in the prayer-spell that is written on the reverse of the card and make up a typical lodestone spell from drawing good things to the bearer.





But before getting into the lodestone spell, let's take a closer look at that holy card! What at first sight looks like Nino Fidencio dressed in saintly garb and standing in a vesica pisces is revealed on closer inspection to be a very crude photo-composite: The head of Nino Fidencio has been grafted onto a print of Jesus in his typical Sacred Heart posture (white robe, dark cloak, right hand raised, left hand to heart). And that's not all -- the figure of Nino-as-Christ has been composited into a standard-issue image of the Virgin of Guadelupe, so that the homely boy stands within the well-known spiky vesica pisces of that version of the Virgin, surrounded by roses! The picture is titled at the bottom "Fidencio S. Constantino" -- his full name awas Jose Fidencio Sintora Contantino. The package amulet has been stapled to young Fidencio's legs.

Okay, turning the card over, we are greeted with another remarkable image, occupying the lower half of the card. It is a crudely drawn black and white cartoon that depicts what must be a 20-foot tall two-armed Cross of Caravaca set with 20 light bulbs and mounted on a mound of earth. At the foot of the cross, two angels kneel to pray, and surrounding the mound about 100 people stand or kneel in prayer, some throwing their arms upward in praise. The giant cross partially obscures a large, radiant Sun.

Above this cartoonish image is the prayer-spell proper, in Spanish:

            PIEDRA IMAN
     Yo te pongo oro para mi
     tesoro. Plata para mi casa. 
     Cobre para el pobres. Coral
     para que me retires la envi-
     dia y el mal. Trigo para
     que me des buen marido (o
           NINO FIDENCIO
This has been translated for me as follows:
     I put in for you gold for my 
     treasure. Silver for my house. 
     Copper for the poor. Coral 
     to protect you from envy and 
     evil. Wheat so that you will 
     be given a good husband (or 
           NINO FIDENCIO
            AGAINST EVIL




Like the lodestone used in some African-American mojo hands, the fragments of magnetic stone in this package work on the principle of sympathetic magic to draw more money and love to the bearer. The package itself seems to contain mostly crushed lodestone, with some wheat and copper. The coral is represented by fragments of reddish volcanic rock. Its use as a charm against envy would be a Colonial importation into Mexico, for among Mediterranean people, coral is considered the most powerful protectant against the evil eye, or eye of envy.

Another item in my collection related to Nino Fidencio is Los 7 Banos del Nino Fidencio. It was made in Mexico and is one of those boxed seven-day bath outfits they use down there -- similar to the Exorcism of San Cipriano, Exorcism of San Miguel, 7 Banos de la Cruz de la Caravaca, et cetera. The Nino Fidencio baths contain the usual seven bottles of coloured fluid in the box. The image on the full-colour box lid shows Fidencio as a priest in a field, with people worshipping, plus a close-up of his long, homely profile. And inside, we get some information printed on a sheet of paper in green ink, and no, i don't know Spanish, but this is what i was able to glean from it, using my High School Latin memories --

Nino Fidencio was born October 17th, 1898 at the Rancho de Las Cuevas, in Iramuco Guananjuato. His father was Socorro Constantino and his mother was Maria Transito Sintora. His full name was Fidencio de Jesus Constantino. He did something or other (unknown verb) at the Cenote at Chichen Itza (the old Mayan shrine) involving herbs and flowers where it was revealed that he had Fantastic Powers. The 7 Baths of Nino Fidencio are prepared from authentic recipes. They are (and here's where my Spanish gives out):

(1) El Bano de Gobernadora (the bath of Greasewood or Creosote Bush, Larrea spp.) taken on Sunday. It is for convalesence, business negotionations, transactions, and (unknown verb) involving money.

(2) El Banos de Hojase (the bath of leaves) is taken on Monday, and it dissolves the bad work of enemies, removes bad luck, etc.

(3) El Bano de Cenizo (the bath of ashes, the ash-coloured bath?) is taken on Tuesday to cure susto (the Mexican hysteriacal fright disorder) and it also works against envy that might affect work or business.

(4) El Bano con Flores y hojas de Anacahuita (the bath with the flowers and leaves of the Mexican Olive or Texas Olive, Cordia boissieri) is taken on Wednesday to help with the marriage something about spouses and love ... and it also cures ailments involving the bronchiae and lungs.

(5) Los Banos con hojas y fruitos de Pirul (the leaves and fruits of the Californica Peppertree or Pimienta, Schinus molle) is taken on Thursday to (lots of words here i really cannot follow) -- perhaps dissolve badness, separation from the spouse or lover, and infirmities that cause "Hinchazones" (swellings? tumors?), inflammations and chronic illness, and "entuilimientos" (numbness? stiffness?).

(6) Los Banos de Visbirinda (what is that?) taken on Friday, something excessive sleeping, Atontamiento (no clue), and insomnia and intranqility during sleep, and tremors, and bad character (!!!) (mental illnesses?).

(7) El Bano del Tomates Rojas (the Bath of Red Tomatoes!), taken on Saturday, was used by Nino Fidencio for the whole class of leprosies, skin diseases, and fistulas.

Apply the baths all over the body, wash with Genuine Soap of Nino Fidencio (not included and i have never seen it) and use abundant natural water.

On the 8th of February, 1928, the Constitutional President of the Republic of Mexico, Sr. General Don Plutarco Elias Calles, accompanied by del Gral. Juan Andrew Almazen, the Governor of the State of Nuevo Leon, with many other persons -- (verb unknown) did something for El Nino Fidencio. (visited him, gave him a medal or award, sorry, i can't figure that one out)

On the 18th of October, 1938 El Nino Fidencio found his rest and on his tomb there is a cross and these words are engaved on the stone:

1 Treat the mighty as you would the humble God knows something something your choice -- Dedicated by Enrique Lozez de la Fuenta

2 The Good Lord knows your heart and something something a memorial always beneficent -- the Dedication of Clemente Paras

3 Do not distinguish between the poor and the rich nor between nationals and foreigners, and all something something are equal -- This beneficence is dedicated as a memorial to his eternal memory.

There's more, but i give up. Remember, i am translating this as a person with 3 years of Latin botanical taxonomy (35 years ago) as my only guide!

So -- does anyone want to volunteer to REALLY translate this for me? I can send a photocopy or a fax. And i'll throw in a cool gift for whoever does the translation, if it comes back in e-format so i don't have to keyboard it in.

Here are all the illustrated package amulet pages in the Archive:


Latin American package amulets, general information
Guatemalan package amulet: miniature horseshoe with print of Maximon
Guatemalan package amulet: miniature pillow with print of Maximon
Mexican package amulet: miniature horseshoe with print of San Martin Caballero
Mexican package amulet: El Secreto de la Virtuosa Herradura
Mexican package amulet: saint wallet
Mexican package amulet: Nino Fidencio
Mexican package amulet: three coins, Holy Trinity, and the Seven African Powers
Mexican package amulet: stuffed bag with print of San Martin Caballero
Peruvian package amulet: collage of magical items
Peruvian package amulet: metal saints, broom, and Ormosia seed
post-modern package amulet: matchbox shrine

Related pages of interest:

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